Re-Presenting Part 1

Another way of looking, seeing and reflecting on beach debris using two methodologies: cyanotypes and scanning. The work both ‘presents’ the items again as well as ‘representing’ a meaning that echoes and endorses the literal interpretation through passing into an abstracted world of assimilations and associations.

The first image is rather ethereal and  ‘ghostly’ but not as clear and vibrant as Rowing boat with fishing rope and line 1 and 2. I personally prefer no. 1 as there remains a distinction between the boat, rope and lines with the background. No.2 appears over saturated with blue which starts to absorb the boat, rope and lines making distinguishing what is going on harder.

In these images using the tops and bottoms of cans found on the beach and a transparency with a negative of the mine near Porthtowan in Cornwall I have had some surprises. Basic manipulating in photos both showed me what can be done to enhance a pale cyanotype (my opinion of course) and revealed something else. The chimney of the mine and a house  can be seen in the distance. In some of the transformations there is a figure, arms outstretched, coming towards the front of the image from the front of the mine. This is an illusion as it is the front of the mine and a pathway to the side creating the shapes that our brain interprets as the shape for a person. In this way a narrative story line has been created. However, the downside perhaps of these images is the ‘over’ processing in the digital darkroom, hence the white circles and black holes of their titles. In terms of composition I perhaps have too many objects which starts to look cluttered and not aesthetically pleasing. Of the six my personal preferences are white spaces 2 and 3 and I am drawn to black holes 1; they have  more definition and interest than the original and greater subtlety than black holes 2.

In creating these images, which are both challenging and fun to do, I am honing my attention to detail in images and learning more about colour combinations, shapes, textures, depth, narratives and the meanings and feelings they can convey. My worry at this stage as one or two tutors have pointed out to me in the past is that I can risk over processing and significantly reduce the quality of the image. The trouble is that I have not yet learned if there is a line to cross so have no idea if I have crossed it with these images.

Looking at Minor White’s Frost Forms; Sound of One Hand, 1959  and Gyorgy Kepes Blobs and Circles c.1939-40 I see that others have presented works which include very strong contrasts but nevertheless have an appeal. The work of these two photographers is currently being shown in Shape of Light at the Tate Modern in London (2 May-14 October 2018). Clearly they did not have the digital cameras and processing techniques I have access to. I wonder if the difference is that my dark and light areas are complete loss or ‘killing’ of pixels through processing whereas theirs are the natural contrasts, effectively still hues and shades but not absences, caught by their photographic equipment.  Further learning and understanding is definitely required on my part.

Gyorgy Kepes Blobs and Circles, c.1939-40 © estate of György Kepes (Imre Kepes and Juliet Kepes Stone)
Minor White Frost Forms: Sound of One Hand, 1959



Baker, Simon , de l’Ecotais, Emmanuelle and Mavlian Shoair . 2018. Shape of Light. 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art. Tate Publishing: London. Available at: [accessed 08-08-2018]

Kepes, Gyorgy. 1939-40Blobs and Circles. Available at: [accessed 08-08-2018]

White, Minor. 1959. Frost Forms; Sound of One Hand. Available at: [accessed 08-08-2018]

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